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Open Access Technical Note

Detection and identification of mycobacteria in sputum from suspected tuberculosis patients

Mochammad Hatta*, Andi Rofian Sultan, Nataniel Tandirogang, Masjudi and Yadi

Author Affiliations

Department of Medical Microbiology, Molecular Biology and Immunology Laboratory for Infectious Diseases, Faculty of Medicine, Hasanuddin University, Jl Perintis Kemerdekaan Km 10 Tamalanrea, Makassar 90245, South Sulawesi, Indonesia

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BMC Research Notes 2010, 3:72  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-3-72

Published: 16 March 2010



Detection of Tuberculosis agent like nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) species by culture and microscopic methods remains difficult and time consuming. A fast and reliable diagnosis of tuberculosis would greatly improve the control of the disease. The purpose of this study is to compare the conventional multiplex PCR and multiplex PCR reverse cross blot hybridization assay to culture method in terms of mycobacteria species detection.


Among the 117 positively cultured samples, nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) species were found in 9 samples of multiplex PCR reverse cross blot hybridization assay; compared to only 3 NTM species found in our conventional multiplex PCR, and 13 NTM species were successfully identified among 162 negatively cultured samples compared to only 5 NTM species identification in conventional multiplex PCR results.


The sensitivity of the multiplex PCR reverse cross blot hybridization assay comparing to culture method was 86.03%, the specificity is 35.46%, the positive predictive value was 41.94% and the negative predictive value was 82.41%. For conventional multiplex PCR these values are 81.62%, 38.65%, 41.89%, 79.51%, respectively. Furthermore, in terms of mycobacteria species detection, the conventional multiplex PCR was relatively equal compared to the multiplex PCR reverse cross blot hybridization assay, and to be particularly having no significant discrepant results on the identification of Mycobacteria tuberculosis in both methods.